Tin Sheets Help Teen Go To Church

Sunlight filtered through a hole in the ceiling onto the back of a teenaged boy who had too many chores to do. The boy, Digvastra, longed to be at church, joining the saints for Sunday worship, but his father had given him a long list of chores to complete by sunset.

Digvastra’s father, Hemendu, had decided he could stamp out his son’s new faith by preventing him from going to church.

Tin Sheets Help Teen Go to Church

Hemendu gave his son a long list of chores each Sunday to stop him from going to church, hoping to snuff out the flame of faith growing in Digvastra’s heart.

Son’s New Faith Provokes Father’s Anger—and Eventual Curiosity

When Digvastra had put his trust in Jesus and had started going to the local church meetings, Hemendu became furious. He chided Digvastra, telling him not to go out on Sunday mornings, but Digvastra would sneak out. Then Hemendu decided to start giving Digvastra a long list of chores each Sunday morning to stop his son from attending church. Digvastra, still a teenager, honoured his father by doing as he was told.

Chandira and Yahvi, two Gospel for Asia-supported women missionaries who had shared Christ’s love with Digvastra, befriended Digvastra’s family and had opportunities to tell Hemendu about Jesus. Gradually, Hemendu’s heart grew curious about the new faith, but he was not yet willing to risk the scorn his neighbours and relatives would heap on him for believing in Jesus.

Hemendu gave his son a long list of chores each Sunday to stop him from going to church, hoping to snuff out the flame of faith growing in Digvastra’s heart.

Tin Sheets Help Teen Go to Church

Two women missionaries, Chandira and Yahvi, shared with Hemendu about Christ. He became curious, but he still wasn’t ready to believe in Jesus.

Prayer Answered Through Practical Gift

Digvastra kept praying to God to speak to his father, and Chandira and Yahvi prayed about a way to bless Digvastra’s family and show Christ’s love to them. The two missionaries felt the Lord was leading them to give the family a gift in their next Christmas gift distribution, but there was one problem: They didn’t know what to give them.

Then, one day, Digvastra shared a prayer request with Yahvi and Chandira. He explained that the roof of his family’s house had a hole and needed a major repair. Digvastra knew his family desperately needed financial provision to fix the leaky roof.

Amazed by and grateful for God’s clear direction, Yahvi and Chandira knew what to do. They put in a request to their leaders, and when the day of the Christmas gift distribution came, they were able to give Digvastra some tin roofing sheets!

Two women missionaries, Chandira and Yahvi, shared with Hemendu about Christ. He became curious, but he still wasn’t ready to believe in Jesus.

Tin Sheets Help Teen Go to Church

Digvastra asked Chandira and Yahvi to pray that his family’s roof would get repaired. Soon, the young man received tin roof sheets through the Christmas gift distribution program!

Gift Overwhelms Son and Father Alike

Overcome by God’s love and goodness, Digvastra could find no words to express his gratitude for the gift that his family had desperately needed.

That night, Digvastra told his father, “The Lord has been helping us in so many ways and has not only known our needs but has provided us with our needs. How can you still harden your heart? … The Lord is good to us. He has changed my life.”

“God is good to us, and I know that, but it is hard for me. … I need time,” Hemendu replied.

Even though Hemendu still wasn’t ready to put his trust in Jesus, the gift—a gift that would protect his family from inclement weather for years—impacted him. He was grateful to God for knowing his family’s needs and using the Church to meet those needs. Hemendu’s attitude toward Jesus and His followers completely changed. Instead of opposing his son’s faith, Hemendu became supportive. Digvastra can now spend his Sunday mornings worshipping with the local congregation instead of doing chores.

“I am thankful to you for teaching and showing the right path to my son,” Hemendu told Yahvi and Chandira one day. “I can see that his life is transformed, and I am happy as a father to know that my son has chosen the right thing.”

For more information about Gospel for Asia please go to:-

http://www.gfauk.org/

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

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Asia Bibbi To Appeal Death Sentence

Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi has been allowed to take her appeal against her death penalty for blasphemy to Pakistan’s Supreme Court in the capital, Islamabad, following a hearing on Wednesday 22 July. Until the Supreme Court reaches its final decision, Asia cannot be executed.

In a statement, the Chairman of the National Council of Churches in Pakistan said: “This order of the Supreme Court has paved the way for her possible complete acquittal.” However, a lawyer who wished to remain anonymous told us: “I think Asia is more at risk than ever. This has paved the way equally to rile up the extremists and create an urgency to destroy her and raise the profile of their cause: the removal of minorities from Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

Please Pray with me:

  • For comfort and strength for Asia, her husband Ashiq Masih and their five children
  • For wisdom and protection for Asia’s legal team

For justice for Asia, and for a change to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws so that they can no longer be abused to persecute minorities.

Amen

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Sixty Years of Serving the Persecuted Church

Open Doors is 60 today! Birthdays mean presents – and our free Secret Church pack contains a great film about our origins.

The Cost tells how, on 15 July, 1955, a young man travelled to Communist Warsaw to began a lifetime of support for persecuted Christians. ‘Brother Andrew’, as he became known, later smuggled Bibles into Communist Europe and founded Open Doors.

The Cost tells his story, and also how Open Doors is helping persecuted Christians today. You can watch The Cost now – then share it with your Secret Church!

This is an absolutely wonderful film – I commend it to all of you. This film will change your life – forever!

To view The Cost just go to:-

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Secret Believer Dreams of Sharing Jesus

Maryam* is a secret believer from the Middle East. She decided to leave Islam and follow Jesus after going to a house church with her aunt. “I saw the good Lord of the Bible, saw His love – that changed my life.” She gave her life to Jesus, and later took part in discipleship training run by Open Doors in a safe place. “My dream after this training is to have house groups with my family members, friends and colleagues to teach them,” she says.

Please Pray:

  • For protection for secret believers in the Middle East like Maryam
  • For God to use Open Doors discipleship training to help many believers grow in faith
  • For Maryam’s dream of hosting house groups full of her family and friends to come true

For wisdom for Open Doors partners doing the hard work of discipling secret believers.

For more information about Open Doors please go to:-

http://www.opendoorsuk.org

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Pope Francis – Islamic State Atrocities Are Like Early Church Persecution

Christians who suffer torture and murder by ISIS are like the first century Christians who were “besieged by persecution”, according to the Pope.

Describing violent atrocities carried out by Herod who put James, brother of John to the sword and seized and jailed Peter, Pope Francis said “terrible, inhuman and inexplicable persecution” is unfortunately still present in many parts of the world.

Speaking on the feast of the apostles St Peter and St Paul, he said this persecution even today takes place often “under the eyes and in the silence of all”.

He said the courage of the apostles and the first Christian community in continuing the work of evangelisation without fear of death and martyrdom in a pagan empire was “a strong call to prayer, faith and witness” for believers today.

In his homily the Pope said: “How many forces in the course of history have tried, and still do, to destroy the Church, from without as well as within, but they themselves are destroyed and the Church remains alive and fruitful.”

He said Christians were duty-bound to evangelise. “A church or a Christian who does not give witness is sterile, like a dead person who thinks they are alive, like a dried up tree that produces no fruit an empty well that offers no water.”

And the strongest weapon for the Christian was prayer. “A Christian who prays is a Christian protected, preserved and supported, but especially not alone,” he said. “Prayer is the encounter with God, with God who never lets us down, with God who is faithful to His word, with God who does not abandon His children.”

The forces of evil such as ISIS will not prevail, he predicted.

“How many forces, throughout history, have tried – and try – to destroy the Church, both from outside and from the inside, but they are all destroyed and the Church remains alive and fertile!” This was because “the Church is not of the Popes, bishops, priests and even of the faithful, it is only Christ. Only those who live in Christ’s Church promote and defend the sanctity of life, the example of Peter and Paul.”

There is no force capable of defeating those with the power of faith, he said.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Pastor Stands Trial – Jailer Saved

Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz is expected to stand trial soon, five months after his arrest by security forces for ‘participating in an illegal gathering’ as he celebrated Christmas.

He has been released on bail, but has had difficulty in finding a lawyer willing to act as his defence counsel; some lawyers have experienced a backlash after representing Christians in court.

It is believed that 92 Christians were imprisoned in Iran at the start of the year – but God is using these Christian prisoners to bring the gospel to their captors. When Noushin*, a house church leader, was arrested, she had the boldness to speak about Jesus to her interrogator – and he and his wife gave their lives to the Lord.

*name changed for security reasons
PLEASE PRAY: –
• For Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz to find a good lawyer and receive a fair trial
• For God’s presence to give peace and courage to the Christians who remain imprisoned, often in horrific conditions
• For God to use these prisoners to lead many of their captors to Christ, just as Paul and Silas led their jailer and his whole household to Jesus as recorded in the book of Acts.

18 JAILED IN TWO MONTHS

Another 18 Iranian converts to Christianity have been jailed during the past two months for ‘evangelism and establishing house churches’, reports Mohabat News. Between them, their sentences amount to 23 years and nine months in jail. Some of the converts intend to appeal to a higher court.

Lisa Pearce
CEO Open Doors UK and Ireland

For more information about Open Doors please visit:-

http://www.opendoorsuk.org

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Pray for true freedom on Eritrean Independence Day

Eritrea will celebrate 22 years of independence from Ethiopia on Sunday – but the people of Eritrea are far from free. The Eritrean regime tolerates no dissent of any kind: there is no free media, no university, and even the ruling party (the People’s Front for Freedom and Democracy) has not held a party conference for years. Eritrea is number 9 on our World Watch List, and more than 1,000 Christians are currently imprisoned in horrific conditions.

Despite this, the church in Eritrea is growing. “Recently the church saw the release of 11 long-time prisoners,” said one church leader. “All of them say the Lord has kept them despite their difficult circumstances.”

Please Pray:

  • That God’s presence will comfort and sustain imprisoned believers, and that they will have the strength to remain faithful despite their suffering
  • That the UN Commission of Inquiry will increase awareness within the international community of the plight of Christians in Eritrea, and lead to greater freedom for all Eritreans
  • Praise God that the Eritrean church continues to grow, and ask God to glorify Himself through it.

Defeating the strong man

When Senet* was arrested for refusing to put the state before her faith in Jesus, she was put in a small cell with 55 other women.

“We were so tightly crammed in that we could not sit properly, let alone lie down to sleep. We were forced to work long hours without rest. My immediate commander was especially cruel.

“But in a dream one night I saw myself fighting with and defeating a very strong man. In the dream I was surprised by my strength and wondered how I had managed to defeat him.”

The strong man of persecution in Eritrea may seem impossible to defeat. And yet many faithful believers have been surprised by the strength God has given them. Senet was asked to recant her faith several times, but refused; as a result, she spent over six years in prison. But she says it was an honour to suffer for the name of Jesus: “May the Name of the Lord be glorified!”

Please join with me in praying that God gives Senet all the strength she needs as she faces tremendous deprivations.

And also let us pray for all persecuted Christians, in whichever country they live

With many peaceful and prayerful blessings

Geoffrey

PS For further information about Open Doors please visit:-

http://opendoorsuk.org/